Center for Collaboration and Development

Peril and Promise in a New Age: Discussion on the Changing Landscape for Public Comprehensive Regional Universities

January 31, 2014
8:30 AM to 10:45 AM
7th Floor, Glickman Family Library, USM Portlan Campus

How will USM’s community navigate the promises and perils of this new age? 

Public higher education is confronting a series of challenges: rising tuition and student debt; a broken business model; increased competition; technology that questions our most basic assumptions about our enterprise; and an increasingly skeptical public. Yet beyond such threats lies an enormous opportunity to reach more students, increase learning outcomes, and address new markets. How are other universities, especially public regional comprehensive universities approaching these challenges? What are the characteristics of universities who are thriving? Read Professor Mehaffy’s article, review USM’s Directions Package website for updates, and come for a robust conversation about challenges and possibilities as we consider and imagine what USM will look like a decade from now.


  • George L. Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • Richard Dunfee, Executive Director, Grants Resource Center, American Association of State Colleges and Universities


Event Resources:

View recording of this event

George Mehaffy - AASCU - Peril & Promise Presentation Slides

Rich Dunfee - AASCU - Grants Resource Center Presentation Sides

Additional Resources:


Friday, January 31st
7th floor, Glickman Family Library

  • 8:30 to 9:00 Coffee & Networking
  • 9:00 to 10:45 Presentation & Discussion



George L. Mehaffy
Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
George Mehaffy serves as the Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  His division is responsible for a number of special programs and projects for AASCU presidents and chief academic officers in the areas of leadership and organizational change in higher education, focusing on issues such as technology, teacher education, international education, and civic engagement.  He organizes and directs two national conferences annually for AASCU chief academic officers and manages a variety of leadership programs and special projects.  His most prominent recent initiative was the design and launch of the Red Balloon Project, an effort to assist member institutions adapt to the rapidly changing world of higher education.  Other recent projects have included international partnership programs in Asia and Africa, an articulation and transfer initiative with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); a multi-state project on evidence in teacher education; a collaborative effort with two other national organizations on graduation rates and Hispanic student success; and a series of technology conferences for university teams at the University of Central Florida in partnership with EDUCAUSE.  In 2003, he launched a new civic engagement initiative, the American Democracy Project (ADP), a partnership with The New York Times and 230 AASCU colleges and universities, representing more than 1.8 million students. 

Prior to coming to AASCU, Mehaffy served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU).  There he initiated a university-wide focus on the use of technology in teaching and greatly expanded the distance education program.  For that work, in l997 Eastern was awarded the $ 250,000 Pew Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education.  Before coming to Eastern, Mehaffy served as the Director of the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University, where his most notable achievement was the design and construction of a nationally recognized award-winning professional development school built by a partnership of San Diego State University, the Chula Vista School District, and Cox Cable. 

For 33 years, Mehaffy served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a Captain 2000.  In l994 he was the recipient of the Vice President Gore’s Award for Reinventing Government, which recognized his work in creating an innovative program in San Diego to combine active duty and reserve units, resulting in significantly greater effectiveness and efficiency.  That program was subsequently adopted throughout the United States, and has been emulated in other countries as well.      

Richard Dunfee
Executive Director
American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Grants Resource Center
Richard Dunfee became Executive Director of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Grants Resource Center in June of 2006.  He previously served as President of the Colleges of Mid-America, Vice President for Administration at City University of New York / York College, Assistant Vice President for Research at St. Cloud State University in MN, and Assistant Vice President for Global Outreach at University of MD University College.  From 2001 to 2006, Dunfee worked as an independent grants and contracts consultant in Baltimore, and led faculty development seminars and taught graduate classes at Johns Hopkins University.  He has written numerous successful grant proposals to a variety of Federal agencies and more than twenty private foundations, and is the author of articles and books on funding and consortia in education.  The office he now leads distributes 13 funding information publications each month, and he is a frequent speaker on campuses and at professional meetings on the topics of writing winning proposals and research development planning.  He holds a BA and MA from Marshall University in WV, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.